An Occasional Tyger by Carl P. Morton

Copyright 1977
Checked out 2 times in 33 years (acquisition unclear)
Last checked out 8 years ago

This is a book by the 5th poet laureate of Alabama. Otherwise, I would recommend letting it go. But since it has special significance to our state, I believe it should be kept on the shelves. The poems are a mixture of formal and free verse reflections on everyday life and flights of imagination and combinations of the two. The variety helps to hold a person’s interest. This is another of those books on the shelves that might get read more if people knew what it contained. Here is one beginning to a lovely poem:

She fluttered by, a girl-moth of silk and down
with honeyed wings that had not yet kissed
one flame! And I, a stranger on the town
and prisoner within my car, just missed
calamity between a bus and a sigh.

And from another poem:

Two days are left to burrow
inside the consciousness
of conscience, like a seaman
crouched in the hold observing
all the cracks and seeps
which must be newly caulked,
the bilge to be pumped dry

Or this marvelous characterization from another:

Old Aunt Aggie,
witching crone,
black of skin
and skin to bone,

poking into
garbage cans
with knotted stick
and palsied hands

So I say keep it on the shelves and hope that some day the people of Albertville rediscover and appreciate one of their own Alabama poets.

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About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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